Martinique Culture Notes

Molly Schantz

Sight Seeing

Martinique has beautiful yoles rondes or gommiers. They are fishing boats that people race with. The boats are painted brightly and have become an attraction for people all around the world.
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People in Martinique speak both French and Creole. Creole is a mix of French and and African languages. For example , to say yes/no in French you say oui/non, but in Creole you say ouai/Han-Han.


Carnival (Carnaval) is a well-known tradition in French-speaking countries. It takes place the week before Lent (le Careme), ending on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi gras), at the stroke of midnight. In Martinique, however, Carnival lasts until midnight of Ash Wednesday (Mercredi des cendres), and is celebrated with parades, music, music, dancing, fasting, and colorful costumes. Queens are elected to reign over the festivals, and on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, they parade through the streets of the city to the beat of Creole songs. On Monday, mock weddings are held in which the participants dress in burlesque costumes. On Tuesday, Carnival performers dance wildly in red costumes decorated with mirrors. Finally, on Ash Wednesday, people dress in black and white costumes to mourn the death of the cardboard king, Roi Vaval, who symbolizes the spirit of carnival. At the stroke of midnight, the dancing and music stop, and Lent begins. Other cities famous for their Carnival celebrations are Nice in France, Quebec City in Canada, and New Orleans in Louisiana.
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Music and dance are a huge part of the culture in Martinique. Music and dance is African influenced. The most popular dance is the zouk.